Black Is White! Hot Is Cold! Trump Is a Conservationist!

Gustav Doré, the severed head of de Born speaks, Canto 28, Dante's "Divine Comedy"

Gustav Doré, the severed head of de Born speaks, Canto 28, Dante’s “Divine Comedy”

WC was taught in Sunday School that if you told a big enough lie, the ground would open up, swallow you and you’d sink straight to Hell. That Sunday School thesis was conclusively disproven last week.

Donald Trump stood on the White House lawn and said he and his administration had been “good stewards of our public land,” reduced carbon emissions and promoted the “cleanest air” and “crystal clean” water. Yet the expensive White House sod remained undisturbed.

Dante Alighieri claimed1 that counsellors who tried to divide us would suffer the fate of Bernard de Born, illustrated by Gustav Doré above:2

Because I parted persons so united
Alas, my brain is parted from its source
Which was once this mutilated trunk:
And thus is retribution shown in me.”

It’s not the first time that WC’s childhood religion has let him down. And probably not the last. But surely one of the most egregious.

Trump called himself “a protector of public land,” but this is the man who signed off on the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history. The man who opened up unprecedented amounts of public lands, including critical habitat for the endangered Greater Sage Grouse, to oil and gas drilling. The man who lifted an Obama-era moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands. The man who boasted of “crystal-clear waters,” but is in the process of rolling back an Obama-era clean-water regulation of pollution in streams and wetlands and argues for ludcrously narrow deinitions of “waters of the U.S.” . The man who called himself “the protector of the oceans,” but has proposed opening up the entire United States coastline to offshore oil and gas drilling. Reduced carbon emissions? A flat-out lie.

This is the man who, faced with overwhelming evidence of anthropogenic climate change, has forced federal agencies to expunge the phrase from their publications and web sites, and persists in calling the existential threat to our survival “a Chinese hoax.”

You see why WC thought that, if ever, the ground was going to open and swallow a liar, this would be the time. What Trump said that wasn’t an outright lie was deceitfully misleading.

Didn’t happen.

Some folks have argued to WC that it’s all just a metaphor. That the biblical lesson means bad things will happen to folks who lie. Eventually. If so, WC is still waiting. And is unsure we can wait much longer.



  1. WC has described before his fondness for the Gustav Doré illustrated, Lawrence White translation of “The Divine Comedy.” 
  2. WC will grant that there is compelling evidence that Trump’s brain is “parted from its source,” but submits that’s probably not the meaning Dante had in mind in the Canto.